Wednesday, July 29, 2015

OK, what's happened to my eggs?....

Considering all the rain and overcast skies we've had this summer, I could understand the garden having problems.  Never thought for a minute that the problem now would be the chickens. They have been healthy and they've been working more than I ever thought they would, even...

making quick work of 7 bales of straw.  If you remember this pile at the beginning of spring, you can see how much they've reduced it and (look left) how much fuller the compost pile is.  Their incentive is the grubs under the bales so they work doubly hard.

Problems have developed though, and I think I know what is happening.  While watching them extra closely, I've seen the tell-tale signs of molting.  Last year, only the runt, Effie, molted and she came back even bigger, and better.....and bossier.

Now, it looks like 3 girls are headed that way.  Bebe went strolling by and...

she's definitely losing feathers near her rump... on both sides.  Harder than the dickens to get this shot, but you can see the bareness.  It made me look closer at the girls and there's some straggly-looking necks, too.

Here Bebe is showing her neck feathers starting to thin and look bad.  Egg production is down to 1-2 eggs a day, if I'm lucky.  There've been several days with no eggs.  It may be the overcast skies that went on forever this year, but I'm thinking the molting is the culprit.  I thought this happened closer to October last time, so I'm into new territory now.

If they ALL get bigger when the molt's over...OMG!  

Thinking there will be 4 chickens trying to be the dominate one and I foresee duels.

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